In today's world, where issues like food insecurity, gender inequity, and climate change abound, it's hard to know if you're doing enough to make a change. But amidst these challenges, there are remarkable individuals dedicating themselves to uplifting the most vulnerable and striving for equality and justice for all. 

Global Citizen is proud to announce the recipients of the esteemed 2024 Global Citizen Prize, which recognizes individuals and organizations driving positive change in the face of global challenges. The Global Citizen Prize celebrates unsung heroes who are actively addressing pressing issues toward achieving the United Nations’ Global Goals such as advocating for gender equity, civic space, climate justice, food security, access to healthcare, and vaccine equity. 

At the Global Citizen NOW event on May 1-2 in NYC, five exceptional changemakers will be recognized for their impactful contributions within their local communities. Backed by global partners including Cisco, Citi, with support from the Ford Foundation, this year's Global Citizen Prize awardees will receive recognition, along with a year-long program of support from Global Citizen — as well as a generous donation to their organization or social enterprise, empowering them to continue their impactful work.

At the same time, the coveted Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award honors an individual between the ages of 18-30 who has contributed meaningfully to global problem-solving. The winner will receive a $250,000 grant to their organization or social enterprise to enable its continued growth. 

Candidates, who we’re proud to announce today, were judged by a panel of representatives from Global Citizen and Cisco, as well as activists and leaders in the international development field. All candidates were evaluated against five equally-weighted criteria, including impact, vision, catalyst, global citizenship, and technology innovation.

The prize ceremony marks the pinnacle of the two-day Global Citizen NOW Summit, which will gather government leaders, private sector representatives, grassroots activists, cultural influencers, philanthropists, and journalists to address humanity's greatest challenges and will be held at Spring Studios in New York City on May 1 and 2, 2024. The ceremony will feature appearances by Honorable Philip Davis, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, media personality and entrepreneur Brooklyn Peltz Beckham, media personality and Global Citizen Advocate Berla Mundi, CEO of EIB Network and Empire Group Nat Kwabena Adisi (Bola Ray) and Latin superstar and Grammy-nominated artist Rauw Alejandro, to name a few. The ceremony will feature live musical performances by four-time, Grammy-nominated country superstar Mickey Guyton, and violinist and composer Ezinma. Want to know more about the GC Now summit, read our explainer here

Get to know more about these champions of change, our 2024 prize winners, who are consistently igniting hope for a brighter future for all.

Cisco Youth Leadership Award: Ricardo Enrique Alba Torres, CEO & Co-Founder of Eko Group H2O+

Cisco Youth Leadership Award: Ricardo Enrique Alba Torres, CEO & Co-Founder of Eko Group H2O+

At 29, Ricardo Enrique Alba Torres, an environmental engineer from Bogotá, Colombia, leads as the co-founder and CEO of Eko Group H2O+. Through this social enterprise, he implements environmentally sustainable technologies to tackle water scarcity. 

Torres’ expertise has impacted over 150 communities, benefiting 15,000 active users with 350 Ekomuro H2O+ tanks installed across Colombia and Latin America at large, reaching over 85,000 indirect beneficiaries. The tank’s ability to alleviate water scarcity and aid the environment is two-fold: first by producing a tank that provides access to water for those who most need it, and then by recycling single-use plastic products.  So how exactly does the Ekomuro tank work? “We interconnect 10 pipes or bottles, each has a capacity of 25 liters. So if you interconnect each one in a vertical way, you have a vertical tank of 250 liters of capacity in one Ekomuro model,” Torres explained. In 2023, Eko Group H2O+ received its second national honor as the winner of the Energy Globe Sustainability Award. This recognition garnered support from institutions like the Royal Academy of Engineering in London and One Young World. Torres’ commitment to environmental sustainability and social impact underscores his powerful leadership in addressing one of the world's most pressing challenges.

Citizen Award, Tanzania: Lydia Charles Moyo, Founder and Executive Director of Her Initiative and Innovator at Panda Digital

Citizen Award, Tanzania: Lydia Charles Moyo, Founder and Executive Director of Her Initiative and Innovator at Panda Digital

Lydia Charles Moyo, a 31-year-old Tanzanian feminist, is dedicated to empowering girls and young women through financial freedom through Her Initiative. She founded this NGO to break poverty cycles and foster financial resilience for women in her community. 

She also innovated Panda Digital, Tanzania's first Swahili e-learning platform for women, offering skills and social justice resources through AI-powered SMS technology. Moyo champions technology to combat gender-based violence, earning recognition from global organizations like the +1 Global Fund and the RoddenBerry Foundation.

Moyo is an activist who advocates for youth funding decolonization, the mentorship of young women, and being vocal on gender equality, entrepreneurship, and innovation. She moderates events and panels, amplifying her impact in fostering economic empowerment and gender equity.

Citizen Award, Democratic Republic of Congo: Olivier Bahemuke Ndoole, Maître / GREEN LAWYER at ACEDH

Citizen Award, Democratic Republic of Congo: Olivier Bahemuke Ndoole, Maître / GREEN LAWYER at ACEDH

Olivier Bahemuke Ndoole is a Congolese environmental rights defender and lawyer hailing from North Kivu, in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The 36 year-old has devoted his life's work to advocating for environmental rights, land rights, and land justice, focusing on climate disputes, energy transition, and the legal protection of environmental and land defenders. Olivier co-founded the NGO, Alerte Congolaise pour l'Environnement et les Droits de l'Homme, in 2008, actively supporting and representing local communities, groups, and individuals who’ve been working against environmental injustices for over 15 years. 

Despite facing persecution, including recurring death threats and an attempted assassination, Ndoole remains steadfast in his commitment to securing justice for victims of land and environmental injustices in the DRC, particularly for at-risk and vulnerable groups like women and children. His resilience and dedication underscore his determination to bring about positive change despite the challenges he has faced.

Citizen Award, Fiji: Vishal Prasad, Campaign Director at Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change

Citizen Award, Fiji: Vishal Prasad, Campaign Director at Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change

Vishal Prasad, a 27-year-old hailing from Suva, Fiji, serves as the Campaign Director of Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change, a youth-led organization advocating for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on climate change and human rights. 

A graduate in international politics and law from the University of the South Pacific, he has been actively involved in the ICJ advisory opinion movement since 2019. Additionally, Prasad is engaged in the global ICJ advisory opinion movement through the World’s Youth for Climate Justice. Focused on amplifying Pacific youth voices, Prasad champions the protection of current and future generations from the adverse effects of climate change. Through the ICJ advisory opinion campaign, he strives to ensure that the demands of Pacific youth are heard and addressed on a global scale.

Citizen Award, Ireland: Sophie Healy-Thow , Founder of Act4Food. Image: Suhail Patel

Citizen Award, Ireland: Sophie Healy-Thow, Founder of Act4Food
Sophie Healy-Thow, aged 26, catalyzes global food system transformation through Act4Food, a youth-led campaign she founded. As the Global Youth Campaigns Coordinator for the GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition), Healy-Thow coordinates initiatives that aim to revolutionize food systems. 

Appointed by the UN Secretary-General, she is also a Lead Group member of the UN's Scaling Up Nutrition Movement and co-chair of the UN's Food Systems Summit Youth Liaison group. Recognized as one of the 10 women leaders in the Disney book “Choose to Matter,” Healy-Thow encourages young women to find their leadership potential. She was named by TIME magazine as one of the most influential teens, and by Food Tank as a Young Person Inspiring Change Across the Food System. Healy-Thow has also spoken at prestigious events like the Nobel Peace Prize and COP28, and has delivered a TEDx talk titled “Food Security, Everybody's Business.”

Citizen Award, Uganda: Andrew Ddembe, Founder & Executive Director of MobiKlinic

Citizen Award, Uganda: Andrew Ddembe, Founder & Executive Director of MobiKlinic

Andrew Ddembe, aged 27, is a health equity advocate, health lawyer, CEO, and founder of Mobiklinic Foundation, a digital health organization striving for improved last-mile health delivery and equitable vaccine access. 

Founded in 2018, Mobiklinic, under Ddembe’s leadership, has expanded access to healthcare and vaccines in the Buikwe region of eastern Uganda, and is also operational in Busia, western Kenya. Ddembe’s advocacy extends beyond his organization; he has served as a young expert in the African Union and European Union Youth Cooperation Hub. 

Presently, he represents and advocates for digital health on the World Health Organization’s Civil Society and Youth Commission, aiming to ease health and vaccine access. Ddembe envisions scaling Mobiklinic across Africa, empowering grassroots communities through the creation, utilization, and digital empowerment of community health workers. 


Demand Equity

Meet the 2024 Global Citizen Prize + Cisco Youth Leadership Award Winners

By Mel Ndlovu